In the 1950s, Salford became the first smoke free city in Europe following the introduction of the Clean Air Act. Now, Salford's population is under threat again, from nitrogen dioxide, according to campaigners from the Breathe Clean Air Group…
"Vehicle traffic fumes near Barton High Level Bridge are already 50 percent above the safety limit" they argue "The main pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, will also be emitted by the proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant."
The `Barton Renewable Energy Plant' is Peel Holdings potential incinerator on the Trafford side of the Manchester Ship Canal, which both Salford and Trafford Councils agree, could be hazardous to Salford's population (see here).
Add in Port Salford with its hundreds of HGVs rattling down Barton's roads and the potential for added pollution is immense.
A Salford Council report, as it's about to take over `procurement and operation' of the Air Quality Monitoring Network for the whole of Greater Manchester, accepts that areas in Salford and Greater Manchester "do not meet the national and EU annual mean standards for nitrogen dioxide" and could lead to the "potential of EU fines" which would have to be met by local authorities under the Localism Act.
The report adds: "Locally sourced data is essential for providing the ability to independently assess air pollution levels in the area and to make progress in meeting air quality objectives."
However, the Queen's speech last week introduced the ConDem Government's Deregulation Bill, which campaigners and air quality experts are saying will cut the amount of assessments of air quality once an authority has declared an Air Quality Management Area – which they have to do when limits are exceeded.
The Government introduced the Bill under the guise to "reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses" but the Breathe Clean Air Group is asking David Cameron to `come clean' on its plans for air pollution.
"Currently, where local authorities have designated Air Quality Management Areas and are obliged to undertake air quality assessments, it is likely that they will no longer be required to do so, and hence nobody will know how badly polluted these areas will become" the Group states "nitrogen dioxide from the incinerator and the motorway could worsen air quality and endanger the lives of local children."
"The Breathe Clean Air Group has been campaigning for three years against this controversial, biomass incinerator, which is proposed to be located alongside the M60 at Barton High Level Bridge" says the Group's chairman Pete Kilvert "It will not use best available technology and will have a chimney stack which is only half the height it should be. The health impacts on the local neighbourhood will be devastating"
"Burning wood not only produces toxic nitrogen dioxide but also masses of tiny particulate matter and volatile organic compounds" he adds "In the case of the Barton Renewable Energy Plant which intends to burn waste wood from construction sites and waste plastics, there is a real possibility of the incinerator producing deadly dioxins and heavy metals including arsenic. Burning wood also produces 50 per cent more carbon dioxide than burning coal. It does not make sense to have this incinerator built in this location."
Salford, which once led Europe in instigating clean air, could now be engulfed with invisible but potentially deadly fumes – and, thanks to the ConDem Government, there might be no need to measure them because it would be a "burden of excessive regulation on businesses"…
See previous Salford Star articles on the Barton Incinerator
Salford Will Be First Hit By Peel Holdings Incinerator - click here
Peel Holdings Incinerator Set To Boom In Salford - click here
Peel Holdings Incinerator Dangerous Says Expert - click here
*Photo shows Breathe Clean Air Group members outside Downing Street recently.